Showing posts with the label sports

True Story©… The SuperFan

  (new shxt, AI imaging...  No more Google-and-steal!)      I don’t know who does or doesn’t know this, but in a past life I was pretty damn good at basketball.   My mom and uncle grew up with a neighborhood friend who went on to be an All-American at Virginia Tech and was drafted into the NBA.   With this connection, my brother and I spent a lot of our childhood summers in basketball camps. The fact now, to be honest, is that I still am but I am just a lot less mobile at 43 than I was at 23.   My jumpshot it still lethal though.   If not for this cursed 5’8”-ness, something could have come of it.      Nowadays, though, we are a bit too busy to get out on the court and break a sweat anymore.   We both have hoops in our driveways and we both spend time working with our littles on THEIR game(s). While my now-sixth-grade daughter only took interest in hooping between the summers of 2021 and 2022 before her interest moved on to art and, next, music; my 4 th -grader nephew has started p

Hotep Football

Not that such sensibilities mean much to The Ankh-Right, but it has come to our attention that apparently some Black folks are refusing to watch football this season due to the downplaying of Black Social Issues at the hands of the white owners and fans, despite the fact that 70% of the league’s players being brown? Not to say things like “I told you so,” but who the fuck is surprised that these white billionaires and legions of uneducated “45” voters who would rather watch football than NASCAR on Sundays? Anyway… We ain’t with the boycott.  At least not for the reasons these other coons are…  Want to talk about it?  Here we go. -    The man who started this all is a damn lightskinnded.   The same brand of which that we get to see come in and save the day in EVERY Tyler Perry movie.  If the brotha who kicked this all off – intentional pun totally not intended – had been darker, then perhaps we would think that this was in earnest, but this reeks of “white savior,” a con

Hip Hop x Basketball -- The Future

     Okay, so we have talked about the past, we have brought things up into the present.  The very natural next question is “well what does the future hold?” As much as I would love to say that I have the answer to that question, the fact remains simply that I cannot have such information.      This coming year, the NBA Commissioner of the hip hop era is retiring and one of his understudies will take his position.  It will remain to be seen whether that means that he will continue the non hip hop friendly approach that Stern attempted within the past ten or so years or if he will simply let things fall to the way of profitability of the time just before those years.  What we DO know is that kids are still playing ball, even if not outdoors as much as they did when those around my own age did.  What is known is that rappers are still dropping basketball metaphors and are still seen courtside at games.  I cannot imagine that last fact changing as long as the prohibitive-to-reg

Hip Hop x Basketball -- 9: Renaissance(s)

9:Renaissance(s)      The concept that a sport or a genre of music, especially one often marginalized as “not music” like hip hop has often been through its years seems foreign to some.  The fact, however, is still that each has had an almost consistently generational window of change that can be expected to take place.  In basketball, the change can be usually marked to include a “generation” lasting about the length of the careers of the most prominent players of that time.  Often times, you hear them discussed/named in terms of the most prominent players/combinations of those particular times.  Examples include the “Celtics dynasty,” the “NBA vs ABA,” of course the vaunted “Magic vs Bird” era, the “Jordan era,” and then the shared “Shaq/Kobe era” and “Spurs dynasty” years.  Based upon the best players playing 11-15 years, those five great periods have bridged the time from professional basketball’s days of infancy in the late-40s and 50s until the present.      Similarly, an

Hip Hop x Basketball -- 8: Detractors Abound

8:Detractors Abound Despite the very much displayed facts supporting that hip hop and basketball are blood brothers, there still happens to be groups who’d sooner have it otherwise.  Following the infamous “brawl at the palace,” NBA Commissioner David Stern reverted back to his pre-Air-Jordan-days and implemented changes that specifically blackballed things that had always been openly embraced by hip hop at large; specifically the players were forbidden from “street” clothes – no jeans/athletic wear, specifically only “dressy” clothes – and big visible necklace/medallion combinations as they entered and exited the arenas in which they played.  It seemed to matter not that they were to be infrequently seen by anyone other than cameras already tasked and properly compensated with being there to cover them, instead of fans or civilian paparazzi – both of whom would lack credentials to gain that kind of access.  This approach played best into the most lucrative of buyers an

Hip Hop x Basketball -- 7: The Spirit of Competition

7: The Spirit of Competition      It is no secret that basketball, like any sport, is competitive in nature.  The fact that score is kept and a winner is declared at the end of the competition defines that.  What may or may not be up for debate is just how similarly appointed as a competitive medium that hip hop is. On the surface, Billboard releases their Top 200 and Rap/R&B-specific charts once weekly to outline who sold the most copies of their songs/albums each week.  In a 2012 economic climate, every album or song sale is a hard-fought-for sale, and it stands to reason that artists and executives are cognizant of this and work hard at either bending tastes of their audience to the enjoyment of their work or bending their work to the will and tastes of their desired listening public.      With these things in mind, the heat of the battle has the tendencies to cause the participants to become a bit testy while competing in their craft.  Night in and night out, obsce

Hip Hop x Basketball -- 6: "Who Can I Trust"

6: “Who Can I Trust?”      It has been said that when you reach a certain income/exposure level, you can never date a “regular” person – at least not one who didn’t know you before you had anything. The same is to be said for the people you will have in your circle.      What remains in application is the exhibited fact that the only person/people you can trust to understand your situation and problems are the ones who have been through similar circumstances themselves.  When, as we have discussed, NBA players and rappers more often than not come up through the same ills we understand the connection that they come to have.  As nothing is ever perfect, we’ve seen even these situations go sour and end ugly – usually just with the loss of a friendship and hopefully not the loss of a friend.  To that ends, the “bosses” of both camps spend major time and resources on educating and guiding them to the building of healthy interpersonal relationships, and even THEN it falls on deaf

Hip Hop x Basketball -- 5: "Let's Do This Together"

5: “Me Too!” and “Let’s Get Money Together”      No, this is not related to any basketball players’ attempts to rap or any rappers’ attempts to show how much “like Mike” he was in the gym.  It is more related to each side recognizing the other’s validity in the arena of entertainment.  There is a possibility that this could have been taken along with the “Acknowledgment” we previously discussed, but the level that this is taken to has a life of its own, beyond simple acknowledgment.  It almost becomes necessary to point to the fact that each experienced a bit of a burst in popularity right around the mid-80s, directly in line with the spikes in the popularities of – all at once – national media outlets (broadcast and cable TV, radio, etc.), the renewal of the Lakers/Celtics rivalry and perhaps most importantly, the previously mentioned marketing juggernaut named Michael Jeffrey Jordan.      A term born of this mutual respect and endearment from the hip hop community to that

Hip Hop x Basketball -- 4: Fashion Sensibilities

4: Fashion Sensibilities      Two things can be guaranteed to be taken into consideration when it comes to regional applications and those are fashion and local team fanship.  When it boils down to it, through the presented history hip hop in popular culture, it was no huge deal – one could argue that it was expected – to see their favorite rappers donning the jersey of their favorite player or hat of their favorite team, or even both! One of the “standard” hip hop uniforms from the earliest days included the simple jeans and t-shirt with a pair of sneakers.  Sneakers would become one of the EARLIEST connected fashion items tying hip hop and basketball together.  As a child born in the late 70s and raised in the 80s, I distinctly recall seeing and desiring to own the player-specific Converse sneakers worn by Dr. J and Magic Johnson, badgering my parents for a new pair of the Chuck Taylors that seemingly every other player wore and To this day, I still go out of my way to o

Hip Hop x Basketball -- 3: "Just Like Us"

3: “Just Like Us”      So now we’ve seen an understandable correlation born of the similar creations of basketball and hip hop.  We’ve discussed why the participants should want to involve themselves with one another, if only from more often than not coming up from similar backgrounds themselves.  Now it is time we discuss what good reason they may have to continue and cultivate the personal-cum-business relationship(s).      As with any connected entities, their mutual involvement will eventually espouse emulation.  One could argue that Biggie saw this coming (or had already witnessed) when, on his first album, he mentioned “either you slinging crack rock or you got a wicked jumpshot” with the at-the-time unspoken third option naturally being music.  It was ironic, because he was passively speaking out that third option by participating in it for his own out of those very same neighborhoods.  Either way, generations coming up behind the ones who made it out of the neigh

Hip Hop x Basketball -- 2: Acknowledgement and Acceptance

2: Acknowledgement and Acceptance      With a mind fully focused on the facts that basketball remains a sport that requires VERY little to get into as far as resources, and hip hop a musical medium that (at the time) required little in the way of classical musical training, it seems only natural that kids from lower-rent areas would be into either, or even both of the two simultaneously.  The connection between participants of the two is more than natural.      What could not be assumed was that either would be accepted as continuingly viable forms of entertainment or even recreational activities.  For what they were and the relative obscurity from whence they came, they would surely be a hard sell to say the least. With that in mind, it is (or was) only fair that both would initially cultivate and grow in areas with less-than-affluent populations and grow from there up, sometimes (or often) moving those less-than-affluent on to greener pastures for their troubles.  One c

Hip Hop x Basketball -- 1: Humble Beginnings

1: Humble Beginnings      We all know the story of basketball’s beginnings. Dr. Naismith was commissioned with the creation of an indoor activity to keep kids in his YMCA busy on rainy days or in the harsh New England winters in Springfield, MA.  In a dearth of seed money or other outside resources, a peach basket was nailed to a wall ten feet in the air and the objective was to throw the ball (then a soccer ball – specifically-designed basketballs  wouldn't  come until later) into the basket within the constraints of a set of rules he had written out prior to nailing the baskets up. Compared to what “basket-ball” – as a then-skeptical Dr. Naismith called the game in his diaries – would become, it really doesn’t seem feasible that beginnings get more humble than that.  From his brainchild, the activity became sport played in YMCAs throughout the US, spreading through the rest of North America as well and eventually into high schools and colleges en route to taking hold